Primary lymphoepthelial carcinoma of the parotid gland, pictorial review of a rare entity

Arani Halder*, Jennifer Sommerville, Mitesh Gandhi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Lymphoepithelial carcinoma (LEC) is a rare malignancy of the salivary gland arising from the parotid in 80% of cases. LEC is indistinguishable histologically from more common non-keratinising undifferentiated nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). Up to 40% of patients with primary LEC present with a cervical metastasis and histological assessment of the primary lesion or nodal metastasis may be reported as NPC. The absence of a nasopharyngeal lesion on imaging and endoscopic assessment together with a parotid mass strengthens the case for a LEC. A retrospective review of three cases of primary parotid LEC presenting to a tertiary head and neck clinic was performed. Clinical information, imaging and histopathology findings are presented in the form of a pictorial review. Two female and one male patient with an average age of 42 years presented with a neck lump. Initial pathology results were poorly differentiated carcinoma (2/3) and possible NPC (1/3). MR neck revealed unilateral parotid masses with ipsilateral cervical lymphadenopathy and assessment of the nasopharynx was negative (3/3). Resection occurred in all patients and consensus was metastatic LEC with parotid primary in all cases (3/3). 2 patients are disease free, and 1 patient is deceased (as a result of disease) at the time of this report. Lymphoepithelial carcinoma is identical histologically to NPC, this pictorial review highlights the need for clinical and radiological correlation to establish the diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)355-360
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Oncology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018


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